|Hubert is thinking about adventures|
I'm not going to say much about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. If you're the sort of person who's going to like them, you already know about them. I didn't actually read the much-read and battered copy of the trilogy in the photo. My parents gave me that one for Christmas in 1977 and I can't bear to get rid of it, but I have a newer copy for reading.
My booklog tells me I last read it through in 2012, a pretty long time for me between readings. When I was a graduate student one of my fellow students told me he was afraid to reread it--he'd liked it so much in high school, but was worried it wouldn't hold up. I was rereading it at the time. That struck me as foolish for several reasons: one, even if it wasn't that good, if he had such a strong reaction to it at one time, it's interesting to look back at who you were; but mostly two, it is that good, and he wasn't wrong to like the book in high school. There are things to be said against it, of course: the female characters are thin, the prose is sometimes archaicizing. Still, it's great. If you have any susceptibility to epic tales of fantasy, it's one of the best.
Michael Dirda at the Washington Post. On the cover of the Dover Reprint (shown) is a quote from J. R. R. Tolkien, "I should like to record my own love and my children's love of E. A. Wyke-Smith's Marvellous Land of Snergs." Unwanted children are removed to a mysterious land by Miss Watkyns, leader of the benevolent Society for the Removal of Superfluous Children. Sylvia and Joe find the controlling benevolence of Miss Watkyns a little too much and set off in search of adventures.
It's pretty clear that Tolkien did love the book: Snergs are about eighty percent hobbit and twenty percent dwarf, but Snergs precede both. If you don't know Wyke-Smith, but love Tolkien, you should hunt it up, especially if you're one of those who prefer The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings. It has The Hobbit sense of humor. Unfortunately it seems to be out of print, but my library had that Dover reprint of 2006.
And so while I still intend to read the Decameron, I'm going to call this as a Very Long Classic for Karen's Back to the Classics challenge. It's definitely long and I say it's a classic.
And remember, as (the possibly imaginary) Ernesto says, (on his blog!) Don't settle for any watered-down, derivative Tolking...